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  • Writer's pictureJesse Mahan

Vows To My Son

Son, I wish that I could promise you the world and all that you desire, but the last thing I want to leave behind are empty promises. My legacy will be in the memories we made together, the challenges we faced, the laughter we shared, and the imprint I leave on you as a man. But for all the life that I plan to live with you, here are my vows:

I promise to be the giant who’s shoulders you can stand on. If you will see further because of it, that will be all the reward I will ever need.

I promise to help you pursue your interests. Your imagination and love for adventure far surpasses any passion I could hope to instill in you. We don’t need college scholarships or trophy cases—the greatest achievement as your father would be a lifetime of memories to look back on.

I promise to put you before work. You are the reason that I work, to provide the life and stability that you deserve—while remembering to make time for fun and adventure of course.

I promise to be your greatest teacher in the school of life. I may not be the highest educated, or the best read, but I will seek daily to share with you all that I have to give and to provide to you the resources to learn what I cannot teach. I will also be a student beside you because the greatest lesson is knowing when to listen.

I promise to teach you to fail. To fall off the rock because you pushed yourself to climb higher, to flunk the class because you challenged yourself to new levels, or to miss the mark because you set your goal too high. Failure will be one of your greatest assets in life, so be sure to pile them up.

I promise to love you when its hardest. You will talk back, you will be stubborn, and if you’re any bit of my son you will raise a little hell when you get older. I know that won’t always be easy, but I will never let you forget my love—It will shine through the toughest conversations, the longest days, and the ugliest fights.

I promise to teach you kindness. This hasn’t been my greatest strength in life so far, but the moments that I have shared with a stranger or friend by helping, praising, or appreciating have taught me more about the beauty of life than books or scripture ever could. You have taught me volumes in this because your heart knows no stranger and your smiles and little waves have lifted spirits in all around us.

I promise to show you that a smart man seeks to change the world, but a wise man seeks to change himself. The best influence we can hope to have is to be an example to others of that which we wish to see in the world.

Finally, I promise to teach you the duality in life. There is no joy without suffering, no hot without is in accepting the shadows that we are able to appreciate the light. You will have bad days in life, but with the right attitude those will be stepping stones to the better days ahead.

Son, you are my greatest gift, a sense of purpose, a second chance to rewrite who I am and the legacy that I will leave when I’m gone. Know that through everything, I will love you and give everything to keep these promises to you.

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